Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Winning on the Real Marketing Battleground

Published in Jul-Aug 2020

In-store is the real moment of truth when it comes to a product purchase. Shoaib Qureshy discusses a few winning approaches.

Pakistan’s retail landscape offers interesting challenges for marketers when it comes to attracting consumer attention in-store. Be it the mass prevalent kiryana store, the evergreen neighbourhood grocery store or the fairly developed local and international modern trade – all are part of our national shopping universe.

Executing well at retail is something every brand must master to succeed. Once customers are inside the store, you need to get them to interact with and eventually buy your product – and the key to this is in-store marketing. This is the moment of truth, when the consumer is engaged, looking around and ready to buy. This is the moment when long standing brand loyalties can be broken by smart marketing play and put your product into the buyer’s shopping basket. In-store marketing can take many shapes and forms, but the essence of it lies in engaging with consumers during the shopping session. Once you have their attention, the chances of them purchasing your products increase. So your attention seeking tactics are really important in-store and are best summed up by this sales slogan “Jo dikhta hai woh bikta hai”.

There are many reasons to put more efforts into your in-store marketing strategy; yet, in-store marketing often tends to be forgotten or left to sales and distributors – a big mistake. Marketers tend to only like doing the nicer and easy stuff from the comfort of their air-conditioned offices rather than roll up their sleeves and get into the stores and really think about this subject as a marketing plan element.

Any in-store plan starts by creating visibility for your product and it is hard to increase product visibility when there are so many other great products fighting for the attention of the same shopper in every store. In this article I will talk about a number of in-store ideas that every marketing plan must consider. In no particular order, but trying to cover all types of stores, they are:

1 Shelf Facings
Keeping in perspective the 4P’s of marketing; product, price, place and promotion, all are essential for in-store marketing. When it comes to the first P, you can select the way your product looks, from the label, name, design to the casing or bottling. Yet, packaging is often not given the attention it deserves and tends to be developed in the short timeline pressures of a launch. So most marketers are starting off with this handicap and then trying to do other things around it. For price, you can focus either on a higher price to show that it is a premium product or offer discounts to attract more customers.

However, these days price matters. Use price to create your advantage in-store – and because price is a key deciding factor, flash it! Communicate where the product is marketed and sold. However, it is not only about the store; the placement within the store is important; for example, is your product placed on the bottom or the top shelf. It also depends on how many shelf facings your product has. The more, the higher the visibility. This is why it is important to check that your products are placed at the front and cantered and that you have as many shelf facings as possible.

2 Trade Promotions
Price promotion is one of the most used in-store tactics. You can lower the price of the product (offer a discount), give 50% off for the second product purchased, or offer buy one, get one free promos. You may be wondering what is a good discount percentage for your products. Apparently, for customers, there are three sweet spots: 20%, 33%, and 50%. Anything higher than 60% seems false and customers wonder if the product is up to standard. Anything lower than 10% will not catch their attention. Trade promotions can also offer incentives for a product purchase; a chance to win a prize or coupons or additional offers.

3 In-store Displays
They consist of all of the items used to showcase a product or demonstrate its uses. It is not a simple banner or digital display, it is a combination of items located all over the store – and even outside the store to attract attention. For example, some of the best performing displays are in-store end caps in local and modern trade stores. They are great for product visibility because they are usually at the end of the aisle and are noticed first. Then there are the ever famous gondolas that allow you to move outside of your product category aisle and create your own shelving in a more frontal and central store location. It is like having your product on your own corner of real estate versus the stores’ designated product category place (and which often is not a prime space).

There are also several different types of in-store displays. Some are more creative, such as dump bins, others are simple pieces of cardboard with a message displayed. Some come in the form of small product dispensers at the checkout counter which attract attention and hence purchase. Measuring the results of in-store displays is not easy, although there are a few things that you can look at – but you still will not have a clear picture. For example, you can look at foot traffic. Is it increasing near the new displays? Are people stopping and checking out the products? Are they buying them? 

4 Sample Products
People won’t buy what they can’t feel, smell or taste, right? A simple product sample can help them make up their minds. If they like your product, they will buy it, even though it wasn’t on their product list. In-store sampling is a great product seller. This is a great tactic if your product has superiority on any of the sensorial experiences versus your competitors. Let the product do the talking by ensuring sampling right at the point where decisions are made for purchase. Sampling is a proven selling idea if purchase intent for your product has registered high in consumer research.

5 Brand Ambassadors
Having a human assistant for the product is a great in-store idea. Your product benefits from great leverage and a sales pitch delivered right at the point of sale. It almost always creates a personal touch and helps sell. Many products have great benefits and advantages that are often lost in advertising clutter and never communicated to consumers. Brand ambassadors give you the opportunity to make a personalised pitch and increase sales. Many consumers are looking for meaningful information to make a smart choice and this tactic works best for such categories.

6 Cluster Market Activation
Cluster market in a neighbourhood store or outside a large local or international modern trade store with an engaging brand activation that encourages consumers to make up their minds and buy your product. This engagement can be in the form of a product trial, or a promotional offer or even a contest linked to purchase. Such brand activations, if well planned, have enormous ROI as a sales strategy.

There are many more ideas I could keep talking about here, but there is a word count. However, I would be happy to discuss them in person with anyone who is interested to know more about how to win in-store, the real marketing battleground.

Shoaib Qureshy is Managing Director, Bulls Eye DDB Group.